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Ten Things to ask for when Your Child is Diagnosed with Autism or Developmental Differences

As a pediatric psychologist I know that families’ journeys can be fraught with unexpected challenges. Discovering that your child has differences can be daunting. And sometimes, making sure that your child’s needs are properly met by the outside world can be even more stressful. One aspect I am especially passionate about as a psychologist is […]

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Toddlers’ Mental Health: The Drawbacks of a Diagnosis

Recently a pediatrician phoned me with a concern about a three-year-old patient I see in my psychology practice. During a routine visit, the doctor said, “Karson” had bitten him.  In fact, the young child had a history of behavior problems. “Do you think there’s a diagnosis?” the doctor asked me. I told her I wasn’t a fan […]

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Toddler Tantrums: Help from Neuroscience

Charlie’s parents felt like they were walking on eggshells. A simple family party often set off the three year-old. The unfamiliar setting, the commotion, and relatives trying to hug and kiss the boy could easily send him into a kicking and screaming fit. Usually quiet, Charlie routinely burst into tantrums for reasons neither his parents nor […]

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What Makes an Education “Appropriate”? Building It on Relationships

Every IEP team should assure that a child has the chance to develop emotional regulation through trusting relationships. Without that opportunity, meaningful learning is impossible.

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Reducing Children’s Stress (and Yours!) During the Holidays

It’s supposed to be a time of joyful excitement, but the truth is that the holiday season can be stressful for children and parents alike.

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Lessons from Spin Class: The Limitations of Encouragement

Are we doing children a disservice by insisting on mind over matter? Some food for thought on how to tailor encouragement to suit each child's unique needs.

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A Nurturing Alternative to Calm-Down and Time-Out Rooms

Rose’s parents and teachers were concerned about how to help her find success in kindergarten. Sometimes she went with the flow but at other times Rose fussed so much that she disrupted the whole class. Then her teachers devised a plan that everyone thought would help. They designated a small, separate section of the classroom […]

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What Causes Oppositional Defiance and Challenging Behaviors?

We can shift our mindset from viewing ODD as manipulative behavior to seeing it as an indicator that the child’s physiological state has shifted to distress, leading to fight or flight behaviors.

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Oppositional Defiance or Faulty Neuroception? Part 2

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) should be viewed as a child's response to stressors. Porges' concept of neuroception is key in supporting children and creating treatment plans to help them find their way back to emotional regulation.

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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.12 hours ago
The Children Come First Conference of Wisconsin is shifting paradigms to support a relational, strength-based, trauma-informed approach, truly inspirational to be with you all today! Thanks to artist Sue Keely for recording my keynote.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.2 days ago
Yes! and we can identify when the brain is beginning to wire with protection in children. Some signs— persistently challenging, fight or flight behaviors signaling distress ...& the need for compassionate social engagement ❤️
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.4 days ago
It’s pretty simple, healthy neurodevelopment begins with adults attuning to a child’s individual needs in real time❣️
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.5 days ago
Important study published in JAMA on Monday. Likely that child and parent screen time is reducing face to face interactions. "There are parent-child activities we know help children's development: reading, singing, connecting emotionally, being creative, or even just taking a walk or dedicating some time in our busy days to laugh together" This doesn't necessarily mean that the screen exposure itself impacted brain networks, but that it limited joyful experiences with caregivers. *Important to note that screen use is vital for many neurodivergent individuals who rely on technology to communicate, this study didn't include those children. #braindevelopment #resilience #socialemotional
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.6 days ago
"Kids learn what’s important to adults not by listening to what we say, but by noticing what gets our attention." I like this article because caring is at the heart of social engagement, which is the main building block of resilience. Great article by Adam Grant & Allison Sweet Grant.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.2 weeks ago
Self-regulation (emotional and behavioral control) is developed through co-regulation (emotionally attuned relationships) creating zones of relational safety.

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